Monday, December 19, 2011

Harvard Beats Yale 29 to 29

Running on the treadmill, I watched Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 on the ESPN Classic channel. This is a 2008 documentary about the 1968 meeting between the football teams of Yale and Harvard. The game has been called "the most famous football game in Ivy League history."

For the first time since 1909, the Harvard and Yale football teams were each undefeated with 6-0 records in their conference (8-0 overall) when they met for their season's final game on November 23, 1968 at Harvard Stadium. Ranked nationally, Yale was heavily favored to win and they quickly led the game 22–0. With two minutes remaining on the clock they still led 29–13. As the last seconds ticked down, Harvard tied the game, scoring 16 points in the final 42 seconds. The Harvard Crimson declared victory with a famous headline, "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29."

There is an amazing array of people associated with the game. Calvin Hill (Grant Hill's father) who later starred for the Dallas Cowboys played running back for Yale. Tommy Lee Jones who was rooming with Al Gore at the time played offensive tackle for Harvard. George W. Bush was attending Yale. One of the Harvard players was dating Meryl Streep who was attending Vassar. Garry Trudeau's earliest Doonesbury comics while he was at Yale essentially feature the Yale football team.

The film mixes broadcast video of the game with interviews with close to 50 of the surviving players. The film was created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the game. In addition to actual game footage and the contemporary interviews, the film includes commentary about the Vietnam War and the sexual revolution. One of the players had served a tour of duty in Vietnam.

Although not as slick as some of the 30 for 30 documentaries, it is worth seeing. I was struck by how football today looks very much the same as it did almost 45 years ago.

No comments:

Post a Comment